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Well this ought to kill any crediblity "Loose Change" had, if any
Posted by: McQ on Friday, March 23, 2007

Yes more of our of our friends the loony glitterati are buying into the "Loose Change" nonsense:
Some celebrities don't know when to keep their traps shut - like Charlie Sheen and Rosie O'Donnell, who are throwing their weight behind the twisted theory that the United States government was behind the 9/11 terror attacks.


Sources say Sheen - whose father, Martin Sheen, has been arrested 63 times protesting on behalf of various leftist causes - is in talks with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban's Magnolia Pictures to distribute "Loose Change." Sheen has called for a new independent probe of the attack, telling Alex Jones' radio show: "It seems to me like 19 amateurs with box cutters taking over four commercial airliners and hitting 75 percent of their targets, that feels like a conspiracy theory. It raises a lot of questions."
Sure does. Mostly about Sheen's ability to research and reason. But hey, this is just too attractive to pass up and, most of all, it's something Charlie and the "truthers" want to believe. That helps when suspending reality is a requirement of belief.

As for Rosie:
Meanwhile, on her blog, O'Donnell has pasted in a widely debunked rundown of the collapse of 7 World Trade Center from the Web site, created by conspiracy theorist Matt Rivero.

O'Donnell repeats his discredited theories, which include the notion that because the fires were not evenly distributed, it made the building's perfect collapse into its footprint "impossible that landlord Larry Silverstein told the FDNY that "the smartest thing to do is pull it," a phrase conspiracy theorists take to mean that he ordered the skyscraper's destruction; and that firefighters withdrawing from the building feared it was going to "blow up."
O'Donnell repeat discredited theories? Perish the thought. Do they somehow point the finger at Bush? Well, discredited or not, there's your answer.

Oh ... and previous fun with "truthers" can be found here and here. They're actually more fun that the scientologists who visited us here.

And to answer the unasked question, "yeah, it's Friday".
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Previous Comments to this Post 

And to answer the unasked question, "yeah, it’s Friday".
Keep this up and you’ll attract the whole commentariat of HuffPo over here.
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Aw man, I liked Mark Cuban, don’t let him get mixed up in this like Ron Paul has.
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
Pass the popcorn . . .
Written By: Don
URL: http://
It sounds like a conspiracy theory, perhaps, because it was in fact a conspiracy that undertook the 9/11 attacks. It was a conspiracy between at least the 19 terrorists on the planes, as well as dozens more in Europe and beyond. But here’s the thing: the difference between a conspiracy theory and a conspiracy is that in a conspiracy theory, 100000 people are able to keep absolutely silent about the most monumental thing they’ve ever experienced, and only you are smart enough to really get to the bottom of it. Yep, right. Some hubris.
Written By: Jeff Medcalf
The beauty of conspiracy theories is it’s improbable to prove imaginary connections, and they are a good way to make a lot of money. The assassination of John F. Kennedy is still reaping in profits for authors. It seems every day a new book comes with a new theory. Oliver Stone made a bundle with his movie and confused a generation about the truth.

The attacks on 9-11 have generated a number of books and now a movie trying to prove “THEY” whoever that is, set up the attacks to provide Bush an excuse to expand the American Empire into the Middle East and steal all the oil for “Big Oil” and enrich Haliburton. No doubt a lot of profit will be generated by this new wave of conspiracy theories.

I have my own conspiracy theory. All conspirators are controlled by the Illuminate of Bavaria in a grand plan to rule the world through fear. The proof is obvious, some people are really afraid. They are known as Paranoids.
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
Conspiracy theorists are determinsts. Whether soft or hard determinists, whether Right religious or Left social determinsts, whether scientific or otherwise determinsts, conspiracy theorists are determinists. Determinists have a long and proud tradition in human history: cutting open cats in order to study how their guts spill out, as a reliable measure of foretelling the future (Rome); whether an eagle flew over one’s right shoulder or left, as the certain sign of which army would win in battle (Greece); casting a cup of reptile and chicken bones onto the ground, in order to discern future events (Caribbean); tarot cards, Nostradamus predictions of doom, the Second Coming, and by all means, the eternal class struggle as the determinant of all of human history (Marx).

The mark of a determinist/conspiracy theorist is their fervor for irrationality, their emotionalism on behalf of a ’belief.’ Facts and reality are anathema to conspiracy theorists and determinists.
Written By: a Duoist
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
The mark of a determinist/conspiracy theorist is their fervor for irrationality, their emotionalism on behalf of a ’belief.’ Facts and reality are anathema to conspiracy theorists and determinists.
No wonder HuffPo sprang to my mind.
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Determinism has absolutely nothing to do with conspiracy theories.

A conspiracy theorist doesn’t rely on the idea that causes have effects; if anything, conspiracy theorists reach for somewhat plausible-sounding stories, usually with some mysteriously malicious agent(s) propelling the action, without meeting anything near reliable levels of evidence. It is, in fact, the debunkers who effectively use science (which is extremely deterministic in practice) and other empirical knowledge to force conspiracy theorists to put up or shut up when the latter stick their heads up.

It’s also important to distinguish between scientific determinists and other kinds. You haven’t done so, which makes me wonder why you’re so confident that the "[f]acts and reality" are on your side.
Written By: Bryan Pick
I’ve long marveled how the ’truthers’ construct such grand and far-reaching theories to scare the gullible into beleving that the government (or illuminati or whatever) is manufacturing incidents to scare the people into supporting certain courses. The irony is, undoubtedly, lost upon them - I guess truthiness gets in the way...
Written By: bains
URL: http://
But what interests me is the idea of that this kind of non thinking is precisely where the majority of the hate and discontent about the current administration comes from. These people serve as a prime example of what constitutes "thought" in the Democratic party today.

I would urge you to watch what is the associate themselves with in this forthcoming election cycle.
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
To Mr. Pick:

The relationship between determinism and conspiracy theorists is grounded in their mutal regard for human ’helplessness.’ Helplessness has an already large amount of research done in the United States’ and European universities, with numerous books authored by Dr. Seligman (past President of the 160,000 member American Psychological Association), Dr. Petersen, Dr. Maier, to name but a few. The intense scholarly focus on human helplessness around the world is spurred by the exploding growth over the past forty years of clinical depression in major industrialized nations: the sense of being helpless leads to pessimism, which in turn leads to depression, unipolar, bi-polar, and even more severe forms.

Note that the determinist world-view sees causation as being outside the individual’s ability to control or shape events: the individual, to a determinist, is ’helpless’ to moderate or improve his own behavior, and physical events are well beyond the helpless individual’s pro-active control. Such a world-view encourages scape-goating for personal failure or inadequcies [see Luther, Calvin, Hitler and Marx, or more contemporaneously, Qutb (OBL’s favorite philosopher), Maududi, Khomeini, and Ibn Wahhab].

The conspiracy theorist likewise has a world-view that events are outside the individual’s control. The very nature of the conspiracy is steeped in a pessimistic appraisal between cause and effect: The conspirators (often anonymous, frequently simply those with an opposing political point of view) always have greed as a motive (whether for power or money), and the victim was always helpless (’innocent’) for the resulting evil.

Scratch the conspiracy theorist and one will find a determinist. Combine determinism with idealism, add to the combination some form of stasis, and the historical result is not less than 80-100 million dead in the 20C alone: Both Marx and Hitler were fierce determinists who were idealists.

Mr. Sheen and Ms. O’Donnell have lots of company.

’Be free.’
Written By: a Duoist
That’s not a scientific view of determinism, though. Even the hardest determinism doesn’t hold that the individual is "helpless," but only a part of the system. The individual, as far as one can be said to exist, has an impact on the environment and on his or her own life.
The question is whether or not the individual possesses some special kind of "freedom" that makes him or her less constrained than the environment is by natural/physical laws, and the determinist holds that the individual does not seem to—or at least, has not been proven to. This doesn’t have to be depressing, or crippling to human action. Trust me, I would know.

Next, conspiracy theorists often use information or power asymmetry in their theories, but do not necessarily fall back on determinism. Many conspiracy theorists, in my experience, subscribe to the anthropogenic fallacy ("everything that happens is caused by somebody (powerful)," or "these things don’t just happen!" or "do you really think so-and-so would have allowed this to happen?"), which is not a mistake characteristic of scientific determinism. Many determinists are convinced of a great degree of human ignorance.
In short, there is no good reason to equate determinists with conspiracy theorists.

Furthermore, you still haven’t distinguished between scientific determinism and other kinds. Theological determinism is a completely different thing than various types of scientific determinism (probabilistic or mechanical, as I call them).

And finally, the Marx/Hitler thing is oversimplified to the level of the absurd. The way you tell it, toss a few ingredients together and you get mass slaughter. Even if I accepted your definitions of determinism and idealism, how many people throughout history were both determinist and idealist by your standard who didn’t turn into freedom-destroying monsters? And how many people who were not determinists and/or idealists were rank bastards anyway? Clearly, "historical results" are not so over-determined.
Written By: Bryan Pick
Rosie O’Donnell making stuff up? Charlie Sheen? Martin Sheen?

The next thing, you will tell me that Baba Wawa went to Venezuela to make googoo eyes at Hugo Chavez, and Democrats in the House will bribe their members in the open to vote for our surrender in Iraq.

Written By: Simon Lazarus
URL: http://
Reply to Mr. Pick,

You are exactly correct, Mr. Pick, plenty of people are both deterministic and idealistic without being toxic. But please note, the third essential ingredient which does turn this combination into something deadly is "stasis."

Determinism is the view that forces beyond an individual’s effort effect change. Idealism is the rejection of reality as it is (Plato). To paraphrase Mark Steyn, ’whenever humanity rejects reality, all kinds of pathologies open up.’

’Stasis’ is that ancient Greek concept of the mid-point in the clash of the agon, where no winner is produced from the clash. The result is "stasis," a state of permanence, of sterility, of eternal frozen lifelessness. The mark of stasis is a value system which is entirely antithetical to human existence. For example, the "purity" of the Aryan race is a form of stasis, because there is no such thing as a ’pure’ human being (See Douglas, on the anthropology of purity systems). The "infallibility" of the Pope on all moral matters is another form of stasis, simply because there is no such thing as an infallible human being (See Ruhollah Khomeini on the ’infallibility’ of all Shi’ite mullahs). The famed "perfection" of Islam as a religion is also a form of stasis. The unintended consequences of perfectionism are legendary (remember the dark side of Rousseau’s "perfectibility"?). Also, "preservation" is a form of stasis, as in the Arctic Wildlife Preserve. Note that all of the various forms of stasis are concerned about 1. permanence, where human life is anything but permanent, or 2. perfection, where human existence is marked by imperfections, or 3. infallibility for the most fallible of creatures, or 4. purity for the animal which expectorates, defecates, urinates, ejaculates and otherwise ’stains’ or ’contaminates’ the earth with biological functions.

Stasis, as it implies, is about permanence...the permanence of death.

Combine the three elements: determinism (no self-control), idealism (rejection of reality), and stasis (the permanence of death) into one theology or ideology, and we have the miracle cure for all of humanity’s weaknesses and ills. Find then an internal or external enemy, demonize and dehumanize him, and this three-part mix will work wonders...pathologically.

It is the glorification of ’helplessness’ which binds determinism and conspiracy theorists. In contemporary political parlance, the celebration of "victimhood" by some Christians and Jews, or the honoring of "humiliationhood" by some Arab Muslims, is the result of outside evil forces. For Hitler, the conspiracy by greedy and evil World Jewry "humiliated" the ’pure’ Aryan race; for Marx, the conspiracy by greedy and evil capitalists kept the proletariat in chains. A very loud and common theme of ’Das Kapital,’ ’The Communist Manifesto,’ and ’Mein Kampf,’ is the conspiracy theory. Both men were notably deterministic, idealistic, and conspiracy minded. Once they added stasis, the death toll became innumerable.

’Be free,’ Mr. Pick. Thank you for your courtesy in writing in reply to my earlier comments.
Written By: a Duoist
Well, I could have been slightly more courteous...
Determinism is the view that forces beyond an individual’s effort effect change.
Well, that’s a given, isn’t it? I mean, my effort doesn’t cause it to rain, but I and many other things change in response to the rain.

But perhaps you mean, since you believe that determinism leads to helplessness, that determinism states that "only forces beyond an individual’s effort effect change." That’s not determinism at all, but a type of fatalism.

Let me try to break my own view of determinism down, and keep it simple without losing the message.

-=-=-=The Nature of Determinism=-=-=-

1. Determinism is the belief in causality—Effects have causes.
1a. Some would argue that a belief in some constrained idea of randomness, like quantum mechanics, would make one less of a determinist; I disagree. I believe that only delineates between probabilistic determinism and mechanical/classical determinism.
1b. Narrow versions of determinism, like geographical determinism and biological determinism, are those that posit one major or overwhelming cause of certain effects, such as an organism’s behavior.
1c. Broader types of determinism posit an all-encompassing force or set of forces that determine everything, or something very close to it.
1c1. Among the broad types of determinism are scientific (or physical law) determinism and theological determinism.
1c1a. Determinism by physical law is, of course, an uncertain prospect. We don’t know all the physical laws governing the universe, but the tendency for more and more previously "magical" things to be explained as physical phenomena seems to suggest ever more strongly to the physical law determinist that it’s true.
1c1a1. Scientific determinism, then, would be a very materialist and realist belief, not compatible with idealism at all.
2. Soft determinism, or compatibilism, holds that one of the broad types of determinism is true, but that it leaves room for free will.
3. On the other hand, hard determinism carries determinism over into matters of human will, stating that determinism and free will are incompatible and that determinism is true.
4. Libertarianism (the metaphysical idea, not the liberal political movement that had to borrow the word) holds that free will and determinism are incompatible, and that free will exists.

Nowhere in any definition of determinism with which I am familiar does it state that human effort has no effect. Hard determinists may state that human action is entirely predetermined by forces other than some "free will" or "agency," but not that such action is impotent. You may not ultimately be free to act other than the way you’re acting, the hard determinist says, but you are nevertheless changing yourself and the world around you. Soft determinists also, of course, think that the individual can effect change.

Thus, the idea that one can’t change the future is non-deterministic kind of fatalism. Someone who believed that might believe in, say, predestination ("No matter what I do, the outcome will be the same," like in the story where the time traveller tries to save someone’s life a hundred different ways but she dies at the appointed time anyway in every scenario) or something similar.

-=-=-=Totalitarians and Fatalism=-=-=-

I can’t see how that idea of non-deterministic fatalism would be politically useful. A totalitarian typically doesn’t want his followers to shut down or act fecklessly, but to act in predictable ways.

The idea that somebody has a "miracle cure" for all the world’s ills (which are perhaps personified by an agent of malice), doesn’t seem to jive with your idea of a lack of self-control, either. What it does, rather, is suggest a power and information asymmetry: "The Enemy had the power and the secrets, but We the Deliverers have unravelled those secrets and have the Plan to stop them. By supporting us, you can help save us all."

Totalitarian structures that have been built on these ideas share a belief in the omnicompetence of their leadership (got that from Thomas Sowell in Knowledge and Decisions) that could only tangentially be connected to some idea of fatalism or another (historical inevitability, social Darwinism, Nazi ideas of Übermensch, God on our side), the response to which isn’t supposed to be based on a broad or especially a hard determinism.
And y’know, it’s other forms of rather deterministic thought that debunk the totalitarians’ claims.

... Man, this conversation has gone so far away from the original topic. If you want to discuss this kind of thing any further, Duoist, email me instead so we can let others debate this 9/11 thing.
Anyway, it’s sad to see Charlie Sheen (who lives in my hometown actually) going off this particular deep end.
Written By: Bryan Pick
Best part of Rosie O’Donnell’s take is who "they" are. She suggests that the purpose was to destroy offices which contained evidence of an Enronesque corporate scandal. Momma get a hatchet, kill the fly on baby’s head.
Written By: triticale
The funniest part?

"O’Donnell repeats his discredited theories"

I originally took this to mean they were calling Rosie a "he" (this was corrected by re-reading the bit).

FOr a moment, I was amused... And agreed...
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
Well I think that one thing is fairly evident in all the conspiracies and the theories, from JFK to 9/11. We can see the malign influence of the Bush Family Eveil Empire (BFEE/BushCo) at work. From Prescott Bush trading with and supporting the Nazi’s to Bush ’41 having played a role in the assassination of John Kennedy right on thru the conspiracies surrounding Bush ’43. Throw in Skull n’ Crossbones and the only REAL question becomes is the BFEE working FOR the Nazi’s and the Fourth Reich or are the Nazi’s working WITH the BFEE for a deeper nefarious purpose?

(Editor’s Note: Irony/Satire Alert)
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
from Somerset Pennsylvania, Charlie Sheen and Rosie O’Donnell don’t tell about how Flight 93 was shot down, or about the "Red Crescent" memorial. And, why flight 93 tried to land at the John P. Murtha Airport east of Johnstown??? Then turned east over Boswell {boyhood home of Joseph Darby!!!} Any coincidence that Murtha and Darby both got Courage Awards. And what abut the mysterious coded message in the 93 Voice Cockpit Recorder transcript??
The crash site is a National Park, and just got five million dollars to buy land. Does Charlie Sheen know about the "small white plane" (see WJAC tv Jon Meyer’s report)?? Hey, just publish a picture of the Pentagon on 9/11 and show everybody all the plane wreckage and the wing-marks on the side of the building just like the wing-marks on the side of the World Trade Towers??? Then people will stop complaining!$#
Written By: Zabbill
URL: http://
Some celebrities don’t know when to keep their traps shut - like Charlie Sheen and Rosie O’Donnell, who are throwing their weight behind the twisted theory that the United States government was behind the 9/11 terror attacks.
If O’Donnell is throwing her weight behind anything, we’re doomed.
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
More good examples of why leftists are bad leaders. If they believe this kind of stuff then they don’t deserve anyones trust.
Written By: Josh
URL: http://
More good examples of why leftists are bad leaders. If they believe this kind of stuff then they don’t deserve anyones trust.
Every on has the right to their own opinion, they do not have a right to their own facts. That doesn’t mean the opinion has to be logical, you can think the 9-11 was a plot by the government, and I can think you are an idiot. In this case a logical opinion.
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
What everyone needs to realize is that anyone talking about 9/11
conspiracies is only wanting a new investigation into the events
seeing as how the official 9/11 Commission Report has been proven to
be false in many of its claims. One hour of research will show this.
These folks shouldn’t be insulted but heard out and debated.
At worst, they are guarding against the possibility of their own government lying
to them and committing crimes against them without justice or cause.
To insult ANYONE asking legitimate questions and seeking answers in
the name of protecting liberty vs. tyranny is exactly what the real
“terrorists” want. Freedom aint free folks, and part of earning our freedom is
accepting harsh realities, responding to them effectively, and most importantly never giving up who we are and what we represent in the process…

Written By: Jeremy
URL: http://
Jeremy -

I’d be much more inclined to take people seriously who simply said, "This part of the current explanation for Specific Event X doesn’t add up and I’d like an explanation." I mean, if they really were just about irksome questions and looking for answers.

The conspiracy theorists take things a few steps further, though. Loose Change and a few other sites I’ve seen go so far as to posit their own alternative explanations and even alternative narratives for events, taking wild leaps of speculation in the process. They even assign motives to certain actors without a shred of evidence.

It can be easy to get wrapped up in this stuff and convince yourself that you’re just looking for the Truth, but walk straight past the most basic rules of evidence in argumentation. Nevertheless, we are always assured that they’ve done copious amounts of "research." How anything approaching the level of "research" produces such an awesome conformity of belief in a particular alternative version of events is baffling, given the circumstances.

And when confronted with inconvenient facts, the Loose Change set acts... about the way you’d expect such parties to act. They are clearly invested in their story, about as invested as they claim the "hear no evil" crowd is in the official explanation of the events. And that’s clear to the people on this site who have debated with the small swarm of Truthers and made absolutely no progress in making the Truthers question the details of their own alternative narrative.

Yet even with their own alternative narrative ("The government did it"), they never seem to explain how the government (or anyone else) pulls off something like this and maintains operational security for this long. Consider even the most threadbare of operations teams needed to, say, plant tons of explosives in several buildings in the World Trade Center. The suggestion that every one of the people involved in this operation was (a) recruited for an attack against the United States without attracting any suspicion and (b) kept their mouths shut on the biggest tell-all in American history for five years and counting comes with an extremely high bar of evidence. But the people promoting this narrative have so far had no trouble coming here to QandO and saying, "The really implausible claim is that a team of terrorists did it!"

If certain claims of the 9/11 Commission don’t add up, I’m all ears. But let’s not pretend the "Truthers" are just looking to tie up a few loose ends. They’ve developed their own alternative story and they’re sticking to it, which makes them a pretty sorry sort of "skeptics" if you ask me.
Written By: Bryan Pick
To insult ANYONE asking legitimate questions . . .


They ain’t "legitimate questions".

And I’ll insult whomever I please.

Written By: Don
URL: http://

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